Mental Health Services

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:03 pm on 7th February 2006.

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Photo of Nicholas Winterton Nicholas Winterton Conservative, Macclesfield 4:03 pm, 7th February 2006

I am grateful to my namesake for giving way. Will the Minister not express some concern about the over-rapid closure of mental hospital beds, which has caused huge problems not only for the mentally ill who really should be accommodated in hospital, but for their families and the community? Community care has an important role to play, but have not too many hospital beds been closed? Will she consider that issue, and in particular the proposed closure of acute mental hospital beds in east Cheshire by the Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Trust?

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Alix Cull
Posted on 9 Feb 2006 3:03 pm (Report this annotation)

Emergency beds are required in all constituencies. Where a mentally ill person falls into Police hands they are entitled to be removed to "a place of safety". According to the Rt.Hon. John Hutton M.P. when he was Minister of Health I received a letter from him defining this as "A hospital bed, a Police station, or any other house that would accept them". This information had been given to him by the Rt.Hon Rosie Winterton.M.P. As far as I am aware this has not changed. The hospital bed numbers have been reduced, and I know of patients who have been turned away when in Police protection because of lack of beds. A Police Station is not the proper place for a severly ill patient - no doubt if they had a physical illness a bed would be found for them in hospital by the Police. What constitutes "any house that will accept them" is unsatisfactory and very vague. Could the Minister give a better description of such establishments, and information as to where and what they are? It would be useless to ask the PCTs as in some areas houses for the mentally infirm are being closed, whilst other establishments are being opened.
It would appear to be a lucky dip situation.